Two players chosen in pro baseball draft

Two players chosen in pro baseball draft

A pair of baseball players’ dreams were realized with Major League Baseball’s recent first-year player draft.

The baseball team huddles in the infeild.

Senior pitcher Isaac Morales and junior catcher Travis Tartamella became the latest Golden Eagles to have an opportunity to play professional baseball. Tartamella was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals. Morales, the career record-holder for wins at Cal State L.A. with 24, was chosen by the Florida Marlins.

Morales reported to the Gulf Coast Marlins in Florida, and Tartamella to the Johnson City Cardinals of the Appalachian League in Tennessee.

“I’m really excited, it’s a dream come true,” Morales said. “Actually, it’s not a dream come true yet. I still have to make it to the big leagues.”

Morales and Tartamella are trying to eventually join 14 other former Cal State L.A. players in reaching the majors. (See a list of CSULA major and minor league players below.)

Most recently, there was Mike Burns ‘00, who pitched four scoreless innings for the Milwaukee Brewers in June before being optioned back to the Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate, the Nashville Sounds. Burns, who made his major league debut with Houston in 2005, is 7-2 with a 2.55 earned run average in 12 starts with Nashville.

The two players also follow in the footsteps of Jay Gibbons and Bob Apodaca. Gibbons, a 14th-round pick by Toronto in 1998, played with the Baltimore Orioles from 2001-07 and hit 121 home runs in 779 games. Meanwhile, Apodaca, a recent Cal State L.A. Hall of Fame inductee, is the pitching coach for the Colorado Rockies.

Isaac Morales at the pitcher's mound.

Morales, a kinesiology major, said he was thrilled to have an opportunity to finally play professionally. Two consecutive, remarkable seasons at Cal State L.A. set him up for the draft.

In 2008, he was 9-1 with a 2.47 earned run average and earned first-team All-West Region and first-team All-California Collegiate Athletic Association. Then in 2009, Morales set a program record for career wins, going 5-4 with a 4.23 earned run average, again earning All-Region and All-Conference honors.

“I had a lot of fun playing here at Cal State L.A.,” he said.

Coach Vince Beringhele said he couldn’t be happier.

“The Marlins got a tremendous pitcher whose competitiveness can’t be measured by a radar gun,” he said of Morales. “(He is) someone who has won more games than any other pitcher in Cal State L.A. history and has definitely proven he’s earned a shot at the next level.”

Travis Tartamella at bat.

And in regard to Tartamella, the coach said: “I’m very happy for Travis and his family. He’s worked hard and is very deserving of this opportunity.”

In 2006, Tartamella, a criminal justice major, was selected in the 50th round after earning Most Valuable Player honors at Los Osos High School. He didn’t sign and played for two seasons at Pepperdine before coming to Cal State L.A. Once here, he hit .301 with eight home runs and 40 runs batted in for the Golden Eagles, while also earning All-West Region and All-CCAA honors.

“My dad and I were sitting at home and looking at the computer and (my name) popped up… It was pretty exciting,” Tartamella said. “It was a great feeling to know I’ll be getting an opportunity to play at the next level.”

Morales and Tartamella helped lead Cal State L.A. to a 32-17 overall record and a spot in the four-team CCAA Championship Tournament for the third time in four years. Cal State L.A. has had players drafted for six consecutive seasons, including Derrick Loop, a 2006 pick, who represented Salem of the Boston Red Sox at the June California League/Carolina League All-Star game in Lake Elsinore.

Former Golden Eagles in Major League Baseball
Names Teams(Years)
Bob Apodaca (P) New York Mets (1973-77)
Darrell Brown (OF) Detroit (1981)
Oakland (1982)
Minnesota (1983-84)
Terry “Bud” Bulling (C) Minnesota (1977)
Seattle (1981-83)
Mike Burns (P) Houston (2005)
Cincinnati (2006)
Boston (2006)
Milwaukee (2009)
Tim Corcoran (OF) Detroit (1977-80)
Minnesota (1981)
Philadelphia (1983-85)
New York Mets (1986)
Casey Cox (P) Washington (1966-71)
Texas (1972)
New York Yankees (1972-73)
Brock Davis (OF) Houston (1963-64, 66)
Chicago Cubs (1970-71)
Milwaukee (1972)
Jay Gibbons (OF) Baltimore (2001-07)
Rene Gonzales (INF) Montreal (1984, 86)
Baltimore (1987-90)
Toronto (1991)
California (1992-93)
Cleveland (1994)
California (1995)
Texas (1996)
Colorado (1997)
Jerry Janeski (P) Chicago White Sox (1970)
Washington (1971)
Texas (1972)
Rick Lysander (P) Oakland (1980)
Minnesota (1983-85)
Alfredo Martinez (P) California (1980-81)
Dave Nelson (INF) Cleveland (1968-69)
Washington (1970-71)
Texas (1972-75)
Kansas City (1976-77)
Dick Wantz (P) California (1965)
Former Golden Eagles in Minor League Baseball
Names Teams
Mike Burns (2000) Nashville Sounds (Triple-A Milwaukee Brewers)
Derrick Loop (2006) Salem Red Sox (Single-A Boston Red Sox)
Henry Contreras (2008) Arizona League Mariners (Rookie Seattle Mariners)
Travis Tartamella (2009) Johnson City Cardinals (Rookie St. Louis Cardinals)
Isaac Morales (2009) Gulf Coast Marlins (Rookie Florida Marlins)

Independent League

Names Teams
Darrick Hale (2008) Chico Outlaws
Dustin Birosak (2008) Long Beach Armada